Law Endangering Young Women Challenged in Federal Court
Health Care Providers Say Law Imperils Health and Lives of Florida's Young Women
Tallahassee, FL — Today on behalf of four women's health care centers and two individual physicians, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood Federation of America asked a federal court to strike down a new law that will endanger the health and lives of young women seeking abortions in Florida. The law, set to go into effect by July 1, imposes elaborate restrictions on physicians that will prevent them from providing the best and most timely health care to teens facing medical emergencies.
"The Florida legislature passed this law — claiming to protect teens — when, in fact, it jeopardizes their health and lives. Instead of expending energy on dangerous and callous legislation, Florida lawmakers should focus on policies that actually prevent teen pregnancy, provide counseling and ensure teens have access to comprehensive sex education," said Janet Crepps, a staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights and lead lawyer in the case.
When a young woman faces an unintended pregnancy, it is imperative that she have access to all of her health care options without delay and that doctors are empowered to treat her immediately. As the lawsuit points out, a teen experiencing complications such as preeclampsia (a condition that happens during pregnancy that can cause serious health consequences) could be at risk for serious health problems if not treated in a timely manner. Under the new law, doctors may be forced to delay treatment of medical emergencies as they attempt to comply with the law's onerous and confusing requirements.
"As a mother I would want my daughter to come to me if she were in trouble, but if she felt she couldn't for whatever reason, I would want her to be safe and go to a trained medical professional empowered to help her immediately," said Wendy Grassi, Director of Public Affairs at Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. "This new law endangers the lives and health of our daughters."
The Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood Federation of America filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida Tallahassee Division on behalf of WomanCare of Orlando, Inc., and WomanCare of Daytona, Inc., Jacksonville Women's Health Center, Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida and two individual physicians.
The plaintiffs are represented by Janet Crepps and Galen Sherwin of the Center for Reproductive Rights, based in New York; Richard Johnson of Tallahassee; and Eve Gartner of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.
June 23, 2005